Winter Prompts #1: Write a Proverb


Proverbs 31  King James Version (KJV)

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.


This woman is worth her weight in rubies, all right—

she rises while it is yet night and makes the coffee,

feeds the cats and gives them medicines.

No matter how cold, she takes the dog out in the snow.

She sits then, or tries to, while her husband sleeps,

and she attempts to write and meditate.

The white cat climbs on her desk past the candle

trying to catch his tail on fire, and settles down

on her lap. The dog yelps to go out again

because the rabbits have come to feed.

Her children—her child, really, since she has

just the one—does not rise up to call her blessed.

No one rises up before she does, to call her

blessed, or anything else, for that matter.


January 20, 2018

The Spring St. Poets have decided to use prompts as a way of getting ready for a reading we’re doing in late February. This is one of mine. Mos of these will be rather raw, to put it mildly.





New moon at sunset,

caught in the branches of the oak—

Full moon at midnight

dazzling the skin of snow—

Thin moon before dawn

rising in Earth’s darkest sky—

you are the sign

of every woman growing old.



All myths repeat themselves

in vision and in dream—

Now that I am waning

into the crescent C—

Cry, Crone, Crypt—

I am convinced:

every myth is true.



Artemis, moon-bow of my youth

bends back into the winter dawn

and comes to me where three ways meet.

Her lamp casts shadows on the way.

She gives me one of her hounds—

a small yellow dog who watches crows,

wild dog who understands what death is for,

who wakes to foxes barking in the dark.



What is this life if busy as hell

We have no time to sit and smell?

No time to sit beside the bogs

And smell as long as cats or dogs,

No time to scent when fields we pass

Where some one stopped to drag his ass,

No time to find, as though alone,

Where someone chucked a chicken bone,

No time to ponder every track

Of each deer passing onward, back,

To use your nose to best avail

To search the neighbor’s garbage pail,

No time to sit and contemplate

What each and every neighbor ate.

A poor life this, if busy as hell

We have no time to sit and smell.



I wrote this somewhat iffy poem ages ago—a parody of one of my favorite old poems, “Leisure,” by William Henry Davies— when we had an airedale. We have another dog now, and it still applies.

April Prompt #17


Mary’s #4:  a rant on any subject of your choice




The white cat won’t leave me alone.

He sits on my lap, drooling,

shedding hair on my black sweater.

The dog awakens me in the night.


He stands on my chest, drooling.

He wants me to let him out in the porchlight.

I hate being awakened in the night.

to fill his bowl with fresh water


or to let him out to bark in the moonlight.

I cannot find coarse-ground whole wheat flour.

The kitchen faucet drips hot water.

No restaurant here has good vegan food.


I can’t find local whole wheat flour.

My glasses are dirty.

We have no good vegetarian diner.

The telephone is a constant annoyance.


I can’t find my sunglasses.

This yogurt isn’t low fat.

The telephone rings constantly.

That radio announcer has an irritating voice.


Is this yogurt really low fat?

My black pants are covered in cat hair.

That announcer has a seriously irritating voice

and the white cat won’t leave me alone.

April Prompt #15 Half way there


Janice’s #3:  My career as a killer




Two cherry trees,

one crabapple tree,

one plum tree.

A black cat

under the spruces in front,

a three-colored cat

under the old oak in back,

an orange cat

on the edge of the forest,

a black and white cat

under the arbor,

a gray cat (O, my Bucky!)

under my study window.

One dog

where the plum tree

used to be.

One dog

under the young oaks.


The garden

is built on vegetables

I’ve been killing

for years.




An old one, written back when we had the first airedale, who died in 1996.


Civilization will not allow for instinct:

no dinners of raw mice,

no clawing the eyes of enemies,

no mating

or defecating in the public streets.


Often, the dog scenting dog, coyote, fox

–something pungent,

instructive, on a tuft of grass–

will turn against my call, ponder, consider,

squat to make her mark.


One morning, as I walked

between red cedars, young pines,

stooped to move between low branches,

to follow a mossy path worn deep by wild feet,

I felt an insistent urge to pee.


So there it was:

a seizure by immediate beauty

–light filtered through dark pines–

compelling me to say in the simplest way I could,

my animal way,


I was here.  

This place is mine.